South Carolina Registered Agent

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South Carolina LLC Registered Agent

Quick Start Guide:
How to form an LLC in South Carolina

Detailed Lessons:

 

South Carolina LLC costs:
LLC formation: $125 online or $110 by mail
Annual report: None (for most LLCs)

Need help?
Hire a company to form your South Carolina LLC:
Northwest ($39 + state fee) or LegalZoom ($149 + state fee)

(check out Northwest vs LegalZoom)

Before filing your Articles of Organization with South Carolina, you need to select a Registered Agent for your LLC.

A Registered Agent is a person or company who agrees to accept legal mail on behalf of your LLC in case your business gets sued.

In most states, a Registered Agent will also serve as a general point of contact for receiving business and tax notices, payment reminders, and other documents.

Your Registered Agent must have a physical address in South Carolina (PO Boxes are not allowed).

Your Registered Agent must also be available during normal business hours (9am – 5pm) in case Service of Process arrives. Service of Process includes delivery of documents such as complaints, summons, and/or subpoenas.

Who Can Be Your Registered Agent in South Carolina?

When forming an LLC in South Carolina, you have 3 options:

Option 1: You can be your LLC’s Registered Agent.

Option 2: A friend or family member can be your LLC’s Registered Agent.

Option 3: You can hire a Commercial Registered Agent.

Important: If your Registered Agent is going to be an individual (you, a friend, or a family member), that individual needs to be a resident of South Carolina.

How Do I Know Which One to Choose?

If you have a physical address in South Carolina (such as a home or office), and are available during business hours, you can serve as your LLC’s Registered Agent.

If you don’t have a physical address in South Carolina, you can use a friend or family member’s address. They’ll need to agree to be your Registered Agent, have a physical address in South Carolina, and be available during business hours.

If you don’t have a physical address in South Carolina, and you don’t have a friend or family member’s address that you can use (or prefer not to), you can hire a Commercial Registered Agent.

Using a Commercial Registered Agent offers a degree of privacy in most states and is usually a more reliable setup.

Commercial Registered Agents in South Carolina

A Commercial Registered Agent is a company that specializes in receiving Service of Process on behalf of your South Carolina LLC. They typically charge between $100-$300 per year.

Once hired, they will receive Service of Process on behalf of your South Carolina LLC and then forward it to you by mail at any address you’d like. Most will also fax or email your documents as well.

If you need a Commercial Registered Agent in South Carolina, we recommend Northwest Registered Agent ($125 per year).

Why we recommend Northwest Registered Agent

Northwest Registered Agent is our personal recommendation (and the service we use ourselves) because they’ve been in business for over 20 years, have great customer service, and they let you use their address in your entire LLC filing in order to keep your address off public record.

How to keep your address off public records:

Many filers in South Carolina start businesses from their home. For this reason, it’s important to know that all addresses that are on your LLC’s Articles of Organization get listed on public record and may appear in google searches.

If you were thinking of using your home address, but would rather keep it off public records, you can hire a Registered Agent that will allow you to use their address throughout your Articles of Organization. Northwest Registered Agent offers this unique service at no additional cost. They offer Registered Agent services for $125 per year and they’ll let you use their address throughout your Articles of Organization.

Any mail that is sent to your LLC will be scanned by them and uploaded into your online account.

Special discounted pricing for LLC University® readers

Northwest usually charges $100 + state fees to form an LLC. However, we’ve negotiated a discounted rate (60% off) for LLC University® readers.

Special offer: If you hire Northwest to form your South Carolina LLC ($39 + state fees), they’ll include their registered agent service free for the 1st year.

(to learn more about Northwest, check out our Northwest Registered Agent review)

Are there risks if you, a friend, or family are your LLC’s Registered Agent?

In short, there are risks. They are not likely to occur, but if they do, you could lose your liability protection.

For example, if the state is unsuccessful in reaching your LLC’s Registered Agent, you may lose your good standing status, and the state has the authority to dissolve your LLC.

Additionally, if a process server is unsuccessful in reaching your LLC’s Registered Agent about a lawsuit (they’ll try a few times), the court case can proceed in your absence and you might not even know about it. Worse, the court could place a judgment against you if you aren’t there to defend yourself.

A few reasons a process server might not be able to reach your LLC’s Registered Agent:

  • you, your friend, family member are not there during business hours
  • you/they are on vacation
  • you moved and forgot to file a Change of Registered Agent with the state

Hiring a Commercial Registered Agent is a more reliable setup and gives you the freedom to take vacations and not worry about changing your Registered Agent address if you move.

Many Commercial Registered Agents will also help keep your LLC in compliance by sending you reminders of annual reporting requirements.

Next Step

Once you determine who will serve as your South Carolina LLC’s Registered Agent, you can then proceed to the next Lesson: Articles of Organization.

If you need to hire a Commercial Registered Agent, please do so before going to the next step.

Matt Horwitz
Founder & Educator, LLC University®
Forming an LLC shouldn't be so complicated. Our step-by-step guide will make the process a breeze – and no complex legal jargon! LLC University® teaches people how to form an LLC for free in all 50 states. We hope you find our free guides and resources helpful in your business journey.
Disclaimer: Nothing on this page shall be interpreted as legal or tax advice. Rules and regulations vary by location. They also change over time and are specific to your situation. Furthermore, this comment section is provided so people can share their thoughts and experience. Please consult a licensed professional if you have legal or tax questions.

12 Comments

  1. roger poole March 26, 2017

    legal zoom just notified me that the new yearly rate will be 249.00. I’m going to change my registered agent to either myself or another less expensive company. I found everything I needed on this site. Thanks.

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz March 26, 2017

      Hey Roger, you’re welcome :) Yikes! That’s getting pricey. For $0 per year, you can be your own Registered Agent ;) You just need a street address in the state where your LLC is formed and you need to be a resident of that state. Alternatively, you can use a friend or family member’s address. As long as someone is generally available during business hours (Monday through Friday), that should be a find setup. If you need to hire a Commercial Registered Agent, we recommend Northwest Registered Agent ($125 per year). Northwest has been in the business for over 20 years and they have great customer support. Any mail that is sent to your LLC will be scanned by them and uploaded to your online account. Hope that helps!

      reply
  2. Katie Smith May 16, 2017

    Hey Matt! I’m opening a floral design company but work full time as a PA at a Family Medicine clinic. I don’t want to put my address for security reasons, and can’t put my address because I’m never home. Am I allowed to use the address of another business? My father owns the business, if perhaps I can’t since I don’t own it, could he be the Registered Agent since he does?

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz May 16, 2017

      Hi Katie! Yes, your Registered Agent can be another company, as long as the company has authority to do business in South Carolina, meaning, it was either formed in South Carolina, or it was formed in another state, but is registered in South Carolina as a Foreign LLC. You can also use your father’s address for the Initial Designated Office and for the Organizer’s address, if needed. Hope that helps!

      reply
  3. Brenda Casey August 10, 2017

    Hey Matt,
    Does a registered agent have the legal right to refuse service? This specific situation involves a lawsuit with one of the defendants being an HOA. The registered agent is a person (not company) whose address on the SOS site is a business, which happens to be a property management company & he is the president. We sent the paperwork via certified mail, it was refused. Sent it to a process server to serve and he will not accept service and his company is being uncooperative.

    Is he legally allowed to do that?

    Thanks! Brenda

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz August 11, 2017

      Hey Brenda, bummer to hear you’re not able to properly serve the defendant. Typically, just because a defendant avoids a process server, it doesn’t mean that you cannot serve them and sue them. There are a few options, but those are best discussed with your lawyer. Sometimes as a last resort (after numerous attempts have been made and documented), the court may grant you permission to serve via a newspaper publication or similar means. Apologies we can’t get into too many specifics, but I hope that has been helpful.

      reply
  4. Buddy Brooks September 12, 2017

    Does the registered agent need to be physically at the address or is reachable via phone acceptable.

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz September 12, 2017

      Hey Buddy, reachable by phone doesn’t not work. Reason being, is lawsuits and service of process are only delivered in-person, so being accessible by phone is more so not applicable. The general rule of thumb is that the Registered Agent should be at the address listed during business hours, Monday through Friday. Of course there is some wiggle room, but if you’re not at the address at all, that can cause issues. Hope that helps.

      reply
      • Buddy Brooks September 12, 2017

        Thanks Matt. One more question, can there be more than one agent. For example, if me and my wife are the LLC owners, can we both be agents as well? I also want to complement you on a nice and very helpful website.

        reply
        • Matt Horwitz September 12, 2017

          Hey Buddy, thanks for the nice comment :) You can only list one individual, so in your case, you’d list either you or your wife.

          reply
  5. Paul G May 9, 2018

    My wife owns a house in SC which we want to rent. The property is owned by her revocable trust. We want to form an LLC for this purpose. Is there a reason to have only her as owner of the LLC, or both of us? Also, what are your thoughts on moving the property into the LLC? Does that mean it is no longer in the trust?
    thanks so much

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz May 16, 2018

      Hi Paul, something like this would require a consult with an attorney as well as an accountant. There’s far to many unanswered questions, as well as multiple avenues to take. You could transfer the property from the Trust to an LLC (owned by your wife or owned by you and your wife)… or you could also transfer the property to an LLC which is owned by a Trust. Thanks for your understanding.

      reply

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